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KMT's Ma visiting mainland

Former chairman's second visit further promotes cross-Strait youth exchanges

By ZHANG YI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-01 07:15
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Ma Ying-jeou, the former chairman of Taiwan's main opposition party, Kuomintang, will begin his second visit to the Chinese mainland on Monday, accompanied by a group of young people from Taiwan.

Analysts from both sides of the Taiwan Strait said the visit will promote youth exchanges and foster peaceful development.

Ma's 11-day itinerary includes participating in the Qingming Festival Memorial Ceremony for the Yellow Emperor, who is regarded as the nation's ancestor, in Shaanxi province, an event that analysts say carries special significance.

The Yellow Emperor holds deep emotional significance for Chinese people around the world, and reverence for ancestors is a traditional Chinese virtue, said Li Peng, head of the Graduate Institute for Taiwan Studies at Xiamen University.

Whether it was his return to Hunan province last year to pay respects to his ancestors at his grandfather's tomb, or his participation in honoring the Yellow Emperor this year, Ma has demonstrated strong and fervent feelings for the Chinese nation, Li said.

His actions also demonstrate that compatriots on both sides of the Strait belong to the Chinese nation, tracing their roots back to the Yellow Emperor, he added, sharply contrasting with the separatist "Taiwan independence" forces on the island.

Last year, Ma, 73, visited the mainland around the time of the Qingming Festival, also known as Tomb Sweeping Day. He led 28 Taiwan students to visit Nanjing in Jiangsu province, Wuhan in Hubei province, Changsha in Hunan, Chongqing, Shanghai and other places over 12 days.

After the trip, the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation invited students and teachers from five mainland universities to visit Taiwan, allowing young mainlanders to gain a deeper understanding of Taiwan and thereby enhancing mutual friendship between young people.

Hsiao Hsu-tsen, director of the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation, said the reciprocal visits demonstrated the effectiveness and importance of youth exchanges across the Strait, which could increase friendship between young people and lessen the likelihood of conflict.

Li said that through setting an example with his actions, Ma hopes to inspire more young Taiwan people to regularly participate in cross-Strait exchanges. Only through communication and interaction can a more authentic and comprehensive understanding of the mainland be gained, he said.

Li added that it is through such exchanges that one can genuinely perceive the goodwill and sincerity of the mainland in promoting peaceful and integrated development across the Strait.

After Ma's second visit to the mainland was announced, Taiwan society expressed its support, believing it will help ease tension in cross-Strait relations, reflecting the island's mainstream support for cross-Strait exchanges and peaceful development.

KMT "legislator" Lai Shyh-bao said that tense cross-Strait relations meant that someone needed to engage in communications with the mainland, and Ma's visit would help reduce mutual hostility, Taiwan media reported.

Lai also urged the island's Democratic Progressive Party authorities to encourage goodwill exchanges between both sides, saying that the DPP cannot engage in dialogue with the mainland and should not hinder others from doing so.

A commentary published on the website of the Taiwan-based China Times said that to ensure peace between both sides of the Strait, it is most important they show goodwill toward each other.

Given the current tense cross-Strait situation and the upcoming inauguration of Lai Ching-te of the DPP as Taiwan "president", as long as Ma's visit helps both sides dispel hostility, the DPP authorities should welcome it, it said.

Chen Binhua, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said compatriots on both sides of the Strait are one family and should naturally have more frequent interactions.

Based on the political foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence", the mainland welcomes political parties, groups and individuals from Taiwan to frequently visit the mainland for exchanges, jointly promoting the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, safeguarding the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait, and benefiting compatriots on both sides, he said.

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